Swimming on horseback

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Swimming on horseback

This is a discussion on Swimming on horseback within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    11-24-2008, 02:38 PM
Swimming on horseback

Has anyone here had their horse swim with them over a river or into a lake?

It's something that used to be done a lot in the past back home (Iceland) since in the time before proper roads, bridges and cars the horses were the only way to get around. There are a bunch of rivers that are too deep for the horses to just walk over so they had to swim over with people on their backs.

It's not really done seriously anymore, but some people do it for fun. You need a strong steady horse and to teach them not to panic in the water and to keep going. A horse with a good water sense used to be really highly prized back then since you were trusting the horse with your life and it's dangerous going over water like that.

I've never done it, most of the deep rivers have heavy currants and it's dangerous to cross, in addition to being glacial rivers and very cold *brrr* I went riding with a bunch of tourists and a guide several years ago though and as we went past a lake the guide went into the lake to show the tourists how it was done.

He invited me to try it too but the lake was very cold so I wasn't going to.

I took a pic though:

So yeah, has anyone here done this sort of thing?
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    11-24-2008, 02:54 PM
Its sooo much fun to go riding on the horses in the water! We go in our swimsuits and take the horses down in their rope halters and grab towels and go when its really hot in the summer. We swim them out and then we jump off and swim next to them. Its sooo much fun! Then they just stand there enjoying a cool off while we swim all over them and jump off of them like diving boards. My one curly gelding loves to dunk his face in the water haha. Its a good way to get them clean too nice and squeaky clean
    11-24-2008, 02:58 PM
Aren't you worried about being accidentally kicked by a swimming horse if you're swimming next to them?

That sounds like fun though. Bit of a difference when the water is 40F Heh..
    11-24-2008, 06:27 PM
We swam with the horses when we went camping in Missouri. It was so fun! At first we didn't realize how deep the water crossing was, but when we did- it was fun!
After the initial shock wore off we went back to the river with our suits on and swam with the horses- we didn't get off as we didn't want the horses legs to be anywhere near us so they wouldn't pull us down. It really was fun and an experience all of us won't forget.
    11-24-2008, 07:27 PM
We swim our horses all the time in summer... We have a big dam with a bank accross the middle, soyou can walk out and stand in the middle, or take them off the bank and swim. It's loads of fun :] We normally do it after a long ride when they're all sweaty, they love it. We get off and let them have a roll as well. Only beause all our horses atm have hoged manes we have tio put neckstraps on so we don't slide off the back when they swim!
    11-24-2008, 08:04 PM
That sounds like so much fun!! I wish I could do that! You lucky peoples, lol.
    11-24-2008, 09:24 PM
I have been swimming with my horses while on there back, but not in the water next to them. Done it many times bare back in summer. Togs/ swim ware on and go for a swim in this little lagoon thingy, only just deep enough for them to swim in.....in one section. Altho me and my cousin once tried to cross it when it was flooded, water came right up to our chests and only the horses heads were showing. My cousins horse had a little trouble so we had to turn around.....she was only a wee thing

Another fun thing is to run through water......now that rules and jumping into it.
    11-24-2008, 10:32 PM
I love swimming with my horses. It has the potential to be very dangerous though. One thing to think about when you are swimming is it makes it that much harder on the horse to keep his head above water if you are sitting upright on his back. It has to do with the boyancy and his strength. I try to kinda hang off of the side when my horse is swimming ( hang onto the mane with only 1 leg over his back and my body in the water). That makes it easier for the horse to keep his head above water. If I want to swim beside my horse, I always make sure that they are standing on solid ground under the water with enough room to relax before I get off of them. That way I don't have to worry about getting kicked or pawed by a swimming horse.Make sure that you have the proper equipment also (or don't have improper equipment). I know a guy named Darryl and when he was a kid, he and a friend had an idea to swim their horses across a pond. Both horses were fully tacked with bridles, saddles, etc. His friend had a tie down on his horse and when the water got deep, the horse was unable to get his head above water and panicked. The boy in turn got scared and jumped off into the water. His horse turned to him for support and ended up pawing him in the head and killing him. The horse drowned as well. A terrible story but a reminder to always be careful. Anyway, on a lighter note, this is me and Dobe swimming in the lake.
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File Type: jpg Day at the Lake 026.jpg (102.0 KB, 414 views)
    11-25-2008, 07:01 AM
Ah, I've always wanted to do that- never did...yet!
    11-25-2008, 11:46 AM
Omg!!!! What an increadible feeling! I loved going swimming on my gelding!!! Who knows if my mare is a swimmer. I guess we will find out dum dum dum...

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